Man sentenced to 16 years for credit card scheme

A 50-year-old Philadelphia man was recently sentenced to 16 years in federal prison after being found guilty of credit card theft.

According to Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Anthony Johnson was sentenced to 192 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for stealing credit cards and identities from women who were victimized in Connecticut movie theaters, including in Greeenwich. On Oct. 22, 2012, a jury found Mr. Johnson guilty of multiple counts of unauthorized use of an access device and aggravated identity theft.

According to the evidence presented during his trial, Mr. Johnson, with the assistance of female accomplices, engaged in a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme at several movie theaters in Connecticut.

In one incident that occurred on Dec. 27, 2008, Mr. Johnson and Lashirelle Bryant entered a movie theater in Greenwich and sat directly behind their intended victim. While the movie was playing, Mr. Johnson crawled on the floor and stole three credit cards from a female victim’s purse. Mr. Johnson and Ms. Bryant then left the theater and Mr. Johnson used equipment to produce a driver’s license in the victim’s name, but with Ms. Bryant’s photograph.

The pair then used the stolen credit cards to make more than $50,000 in unauthorized purchases. The purchases included gift cards, clothing, electronics, designer sunglasses and a $10,000 Rolex watch.

Mr. Johnson also traveled to Connecticut on at least three occasions between April and August 2010 and stole credit cards from female patrons at theaters in Greenwich, Fairfield and Colchester. He produced false driver’s licenses in each victim’s name, but with a photograph of Jamie McGowan, his female accomplice on these trips.

Ms. McGowan, at Mr. Johnson’s direction, used the stolen credit cards and fraudulent identification to purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards and retail items, and also to make more than $5,000 in cash advances at the Mohegan Sun Casino.

Ms. McGowan testified at trial that she participated in Mr. Johnson’s credit card theft scheme for more than a year. During that time, a “good weekend” yielded between $50,000 and $70,000 and a “bad weekend” yielded between $20,000 and $30,000. Ms. McGowan stated that most weekends were “good weekends.” Trial testimony also revealed that Mr. Johnson committed similar crimes in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, Nevada and Hawaii.

Mr. Johnson has been in custody since October 2010 after he was arrested in Indiana on a violation of supervised release warrant from the eastern district of Pennsylvania. On June 22, 2012, Ms. Bryant and Ms. McGowan each pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized use of an access device and one count of aggravated identity theft. On Nov. 29, 2012, Ms. McGowan was sentenced to 18 months of imprisonment. Ms. Bryant awaits sentencing.

This matter was investigated by the FBI and the Greenwich, Fairfield and Waterford police departments.

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